Donald Trump Jr.’s infamous June 2016 dirt-digging mission — which he was very excited about, according to his own self-released emails — on Hillary Clinton is back in the news. Yes, the Trump Tower meeting with Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya has come under more scrutiny, mainly because she was so adamant that the Kremlin had nothing to do with the shindig. In fact, she described the response as “mass hysteria” despite her own history of working for Russia’s top spy agency. Now, the New York Times reports that the Kremlin had a heads up before she met with Don Jr.
More than a heads up, actually. Veselnitskaya reportedly showed off her upcoming talking points to Yuri Y. Chaika, who’s Russia’s prosecutor general and is known as the “Master of Kompromat” (with “kompromat” being defined as compromising information that can be used against a political opponent). The NY Times says that “interviews and records” reveal that Veselnitskaya showed the relevant memos to Chaika months prior to sitting down with an expectant Don Jr. and friends:
The coordination between the Trump Tower visitor and the Russian prosecutor general undercuts Ms. Veselnitskaya’s account that she was a purely independent actor when she sat down with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, and Paul J. Manafort, then the Trump campaign chairman. It also suggests that emails from an intermediary to the younger Mr. Trump promising that Ms. Veselnitskaya would arrive with information from Russian prosecutors were rooted at least partly in fact — not mere “puffery,” as the president’s son later said.
Further, these memos mirrored information that Veselnitskaya had given (“some paragraphs verbatim”) to GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher when he visited Moscow. Rohrabacher’s role in this whole mess is equally complex, for U.S. officials had warned him that Russia was trying to recruit him as an operative.
Yet Rohrabacher still visited Russia in April 2016, and during that trip, he used talking points (likely the same ones used in the Trump Jr. meeting) to help orchestrate a “show trial” of anti-Putin critic and human rights activist Bill Browder, who — only this past week — had his visa revoked by the State Department. That happened on the same day that Russia accused Browder of murdering Putin’s accountant, Sergei Magnitsky, who perished in a Moscow prison under mysterious circumstances.
Not only that, but Don Jr.’s Trump Tower meeting was originally explained (by Sean Spicer) as being about adoption and Magnitsky Act — the latter of which froze assets of many Russian officials close to Putin. All of this is so circular and exhausting, and Don Jr. never even got any good Clinton dirt out of the mess. Sad!
(Via New York Times)